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Your Checkup

  • Spring into a Healthier You!

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 28, 2017

    Spring is the perfect season for new fitness goals—especially if your New Year’s resolution of getting in shape didn’t pan out. Here are some top tips to help you enjoy getting active and, more importantly, sticking to it!

    Make fitness fun.
    If you choose an activity that you enjoy doing, you’ll want to take time out of your day to do it. If you like to run, now’s the perfect time to get outdoors. Start off slow and watch yourself progress week by week. If you’re not a runner, find a class or any type of fun activity at the gym. If you prefer to work out in the comfort of your own home, choose a workout video. There are several ways to get active without joining a gym.  

    Be Realistic.
    If you decide you’re going to run a marathon, but have never even ran a mile, chances are you have set the bar too high. Start with small goals. For example, sign up for a 5k, and then a 10k, and then a half marathon and maybe one day you will reach that full marathon goal.

    Make a plan.
     Going to the gym can be intimidating, especially if you’ve never been to the gym before. If you write out your workout plan and goals, whether written by you or by a certified trainer, you are more likely to follow it.  When you outline your workout plan, you can work towards your goal in small steps rather than becoming overwhelmed by the end result.  Our experienced, certified Wellness Center staff can help you with balance training, health coaching, or a personalized exercise plan.

    Get Support
    . Surround yourself with people that encourage a healthier lifestyle and find someone to workout with. If you do one or both, you will be more inclined to stick with your fitness plan and stay on track.

    Journal Your Progress
    .  Start on day one. Write down what you did and how you felt before and after. If you are able to see in writing what you accomplished and how you felt on a day to day basis, you’re more likely to stick with it and achieve your fitness goal(s). 

  • Sleep Better, Feel Better.

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 23, 2017

    How much sleep do we really need?

    Sleep can affect our overall health and well-being. Did you know that we spend up to one-third of our lives asleep? Most of us are aware that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but many of us struggle to make it a priority to get those eight plus hours of sleep every night.

    The amount of sleep that you need depends on your age group, but keep in mind that how much sleep you need is up to your own body.

     So, how much sleep is recommended?

    • For newborns (0-3 months), 14 – 17 hours of sleep is recommended.
    • It is recommended infants get between 12 and 15 hours of sleep.
    • For toddlers, 11 to 14 hours of sleep is recommended.
      • It should be noted that newborns, infants and toddlers get the recommended amount of sleep necessary over a period of 24 hours, including naps.
    • For preschoolers, sleep experts recommend 10 to 13 hours (including naps).
    • For kids 6 to 13 years old, 9 to 11 hours of sleep is recommended.
    • Teenagers between 14 and 17 years of age need 8 to 10 hours of sleep.
    • Young adults up to the age of 25 are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep and same goes for adults.
    • Seniors over 65 should get between 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night.

    To begin a new path towards healthier sleep habits and an overall healthier lifestyle, make sleep a priority. Pay close attention to your energy, mood, and health after a poor night’s sleep versus a good one.

    To begin improving your sleep today, follow these simple and effective healthy sleep tips:

    George Wolfe, Van Wert County Hospital Sleep Center Coordinator, stated that “If your sleep is fragmented or your bed partner complains of disruptive snoring, speak to your Primary Care Physician about doing a nighttime oxygen study. They will set you up with a wrist-watch type device that you wear in your home for a single night to determine if your snoring is a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea.”

    For more information, visit SleepFoundation.org and Sleep.Org



  • March is National Kidney Month

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 22, 2017

    Did you know that one in every 10 adults (age 20 or older) has a chronic kidney disorder? That is why the National Kidney Foundation is encouraging all Americans to do their part and give their kidneys some extra attention by getting a well-deserved check-up.

    The kidneys filter waste and perform vital functions that control things like red blood cell production and blood pressure. Over time, kidneys can become damaged with little or no physical symptoms to warn you that your kidneys are in trouble.

    Dr. Joseph Vassalotti, MD, National Kidney Foundation Chief Medical Officer, stated that of the 26 million American adults estimated to have kidney disease, most of them do not know that they have it. He explained the importance of taking care of your kidneys, especially if you’re at risk for kidney disease.

    All Americans can do 5 simple things to protect their kidneys and keep them healthy and strong:

    1. Get tested. Ask your healthcare provider for an ACR urine test or a GFR blood test annually if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, are over the age of 60, or have a family history of kidney failure.
    2. Reduce NSAIDs. Over the counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), may alleviate your aches and pains, but they can harm the kidneys, especially if you already have kidney disease. Reduce your regular use of NSAIDs and never go over the recommended dose.
    3. Cut the processed foods. Processed foods can be significant sources of sodium, nitrates and phosphates, and have been linked to cancer, heart disease and kidney disease.
    4. Exercise regularly. Your kidneys like it when you exercise. Regular exercise will keep your bones, muscles, blood vessels, heart and kidneys healthy. Getting active for at least 30 minutes a day can also help control blood pressure and lower blood sugar, which is vital to kidney health.
    5. Control blood pressure and diabetes. High blood pressure and diabetes are the leading causes of kidney disease and kidney failure. Managing high blood pressure and strict control of blood sugar levels can slow the progression of kidney disease. Speak with your doctor if you are having trouble managing diabetes or high blood pressure.

    Facts about kidneys:

    • 1 in 3 American adults is at high risk for developing kidney disease today.
    • High blood pressure, diabetes, a family history of kidney failure and being over 60 are major risks factors for developing kidney disease.
    • 1 in 9 American adults has kidney disease—and most don’t know it.
    • Early detection and treatment can slow or prevent the progression of kidney disease.
    • Kidney disease risk can be reduced by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar, quitting smoking, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding excessive use of pain medications.

    For more information, visit: www.kidney.org/news/national-kidney-month-take-five-your-kidneys

  • March is Lymphedema Awareness Month!

    by Haley Thomas | Mar 10, 2017

    Millions of individuals in the United States suffer from lymphedema and lymphatic diseases. According to the Lymphatic Education & Research Network, more people suffer from these diseases in the United States than from Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, ALS, Parkinson’s disease, and AIDS—combined. While there is no cure for lymphedema, compression treatments and physical therapy may help reduce the discomfort and swelling.

    What is Lymphedema?

    Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial tissue that causes swelling; most often in the arm(s) and/or leg(s), as well as, occasionally in other parts of the body. Lymphedema can develop when lymphatic vessels are missing or impaired (primary) or when lymph vessels are damaged/lymph nodes removed (secondary). Commonly lymphedema is a result of cancer treatment especially when lymph nodes are removed such as with a mastectomy that involved lymph node removal.

    Symptoms of Lymphedema:

    Lymphedema can develop in any part of the body or limbs. Signs and symptoms include: a "full" sensation in the limb, skin feeling tight, decreased flexibility in the hand, wrist, or ankle, difficulty fitting into clothes in one specific area, and/or ring/watch/bracelet tightness. If you notice persistent swelling, it is important to seek medical advice. Early diagnosis and treatment improves both the prognosis and the condition.

    Treatment of Lymphedema:

    The best way to treat lymphedema includes a five step process known as the Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT). This includes manual lymph drainage, compression bandaging, individualized exercise, self-care, and meticulous skin care.

    Where is lymphedema treatment located?

    Right here at VWCH in the physical rehab department. We have a lymphedema therapist and assistant who are highly trained in treating and managing lymphedema. Find out more by calling Physical Rehabilitation at 419-238-8626, we would be happy to answer any questions.


  • February is American Heart Month

    by Haley Thomas | Feb 21, 2017

    February is American Heart Month and this year’s focus is that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both American men and women. Approximately 610,000 Americans die from heart disease every year, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths in the United States.  Nearly half of Americans (49%) have at least one risk factor for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, obesity, physical inactivity, or an unhealthy diet. Risk also increases with age.

    The good news is that heart disease can often be prevented in individuals of all ages when they make healthy lifestyle changes and manage medical conditions through appropriate treatment options. Communities, health care providers, and families can work together to make healthier choices.

    While some individuals do not experience any symptoms of heart disease, others may have heavy sharp chest pain or discomfort, pain in the neck/jaw/throat, or pain in the upper abdomen or back. According to the CDC, heart disease may be silent and can sometimes go undiagnosed until an individual experiences signs or symptoms including:

    • Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
    • Arrhythmia: Flutter feelings in the chest.
    • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
    • Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move), or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms may include confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.

    According to the CDC, you can lower the risk of heart disease and a heart attack by taking simple steps.

    • Eat healthy. Eat a healthy diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free of low-fat milk and milk products. Choose foods low in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
    • Exercise regularly. Adults need a total of 150 minutes (or 2 hours and 30 minutes) of exercise each week. You can spread your activity out during the week and can break it up into small chunks of time during the day.
    • Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit smoking, schedule an appointment with your doctor for ways to stop smoking.
    • Limit alcohol use. Alcohol use can lead to long-term health problems, including heart disease and cancer. If you do choose to drink, do so in moderation, which is no more than one drink a day for women. Do not drink at all if you are pregnant.
    • Know your family history.  There may be factors that could increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
    • Manage and medical condition you might have. Learn the ABCs of heart health. Keep them in mind every day and especially when you talk to your health provider:
      • Appropriate aspirin therapy for those who need it
      • Blood pressure control
      • Cholesterol management
      • Smoking cessation

    Heart disease can often be prevented by adopting a heart healthy lifestyle. For example, follow a healthy diet, stop smoking, exercise regularly, limit alcohol use, and know your family history.

    Dr. Sell, a family physician at Family Medicine Associates in Rockford stated, “A healthy heart is the most important thing you can do, but it is perhaps the most difficult thing to sustain. You may need the counsel of your doctor or dietician to embark on the best path.” 

    If lifestyle changes aren’t enough, you may need certain medications or other appropriate treatment options to control your heart disease risk factors.

    For more information on heart disease, visit
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/basics/definition/con-20034056 and https://www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/index.html